The Power of Intention

Sometimes, my mat teaches me about work.

Other times, my work teaches me about my mat.

Cue the week-long work retreat to Toronto. I'm really making the rounds in Canada this year.

In all honesty, I was dreading the trip a bit and my attitude could have been a bit (read: a lot) better.

I spend a lot of time on the road (I've spent about 100 nights away from "home" already this year), and the past two months have been a story of unpacking, repacking, jet-lagging, and mostly passing my husband with a quick wave as our travel schedules pulled us in opposite directions. Oh, and being behind at work. Perpetually behind.

Plus, there would be no yoga classes - not even a chance of one really. Just me and the gym in the early mornings, and my personal practice in my hotel room.

I went to bed on Sunday excited to get this week started - and to be one night closer to going home.

And then - at 8.00 on Monday morning, the session opened with a reminder to be present - to honor ourselves, to be open to the possibility for change, and to be reflective. It was followed not long after by a request to lead with intention in everything that we do. I felt like they were talking directly at me. 

I do business insurance, folks. It is a necessary aspect of almost every company's business risk transfer, but not exactly a warm and fuzzy, get your feelings out and talk about it sort of environment.

But - start a conversation about leading with presence and intent - and now you have my attention. 

You had me at "be present."

I could have just as easily been in a very different kind of class.

In yoga, we talk about this as mindfulness.

In business, we call these foundational qualities for transformational leadership.

Same intent. I'll take it. 

And the week that I thought would be long and full of role-playing and charts, was actually a week full of personal growth, learning, and building friendships with colleagues from around the globe. The evenings that I worried would be filled with "real work" still happened, but the difficulty was lessened by camaraderie and to be frank, wine.

I walked away feeling lucky - and better for having spent a week taking stock of what I could do to improve - not just as an employee - but as a person.

I had fun. I met great people and made real connections. I was blindfolded for an hour for an exercise and it taught me more in 60 minutes than I had learned in all of my prior leadership trainings. I shared more than I normally would have in a business environment - and even shared my blog. I did a drunk handstand (not totally advisable - probably best left for more sober moments). I sang back-up for a rap.

I even won an award. In a nut shell, it was for laughing too hard:

Because sometimes, I have trouble keeping it together and can't stop laughing. I call it joy.

So here is the executive summary to take back to the mat:

Attitude matters.

Intention counts.

Flexibility isn't just physical.

Everything that we present to the world starts with what we know, trust, love, and accept about our own self. 

And sometimes, a little too much laughter is just what you need.